The following information is a copy of JK Stokes data on Mount Barker as contained in her Rootsweb ( Genealogy Website  and has been included here with permission.  No alterations or additions may be made to her information without further permission, although relevant comments and/or additions are welcome to be added at the bottom of each page.  (copied July 2014)

These are potted histories of some families who lived in the Mt Barker area.

Also, refer to Adelaide Hills - Local Identities for additional information

John Banks Shepherdson Gordon Family Thomas Gratwick
William Gray Hall families Quaker community
Henry Hooper Raison & Shackleford Brackenridge & Fowler
Robert Hutton Thomas Lambert Archibald Little
Adam Watson Richardson Smiths of many varieties Edward Tear
Paltridges Waddell Lachlan McFarlane
Simion Moss Patterson Walker
John Dawson McEwen Duncan McFarlane Allan Bell
John Garden Ramsay Walter Paterson Love family
Bezor family Sir George Foster Pearce  

John Banks Shepherdson

John Banks Shepherdson and his family arrived in SA on 28th October 1837 aboard the ship "Hartley".  In 1838 he moved from Adelaide to the Mt Barker area as a schoolmaster.  He was 29 years old at the time.  He had been sent to SA to organise the Education Department, as the first Director of Schools in the colony.

In 1842 he kept the first post office to officially operate in the town, in the front room of his hut.  This hut later became a Tin Smith shop and was on the corner of Main Street and Gawler Street. (Main Street no longer exists).  He later built a house in Mt Barker which was occupied by Mr Fleet in the 1950's. 

On 10 July 1846, he was present at the first meeting held by local men including Allan McFarlane and John Bull, which was held at the Nairne Chapel, with a view to  building a church at Blakiston.

He was appointed to the Mt Barker Bench as a clerk in 1847 and when the Local Court Act was passed in 1850, was also the first clerk of the Local Court of Mt Barker.

In addition to his other duties, John Banks Shepherdson also owned and operated a small portable saw-bench which he operated during 1849, cutting posts and fence palings and rails for the locals to build their homes.

When his health broke down, he moved to Echunga where he spent the rest of his life.

Gordon Family

"The Gordon family are not easy to trace.  There were two brothers and, I think, two sisters.  They probably came out with their parents in the early forties.  The brother John James Gordon studied for a year or two for the ministry of the Presbyterian Church along with the late John Clezy.  He was from about 1862 in the service of Walter Duffield & Co., millers, at Gawler.  He married the eldest daughter of the late J.W. Disher of Charleston 1.  After the firm of Duffield & Co. ceased to exist, Mr Gordon managed the estate of the late Walter Duffield until he died a few years ago at College Park, Adelaide.  His brother James, went to the north when that country was settled by farmers.  I have the impression that he married a Waddell.  He died a year or two ago at Dulwich, Adelaide."
-Early Mount Barker - Who Was Who? - Rev. W. Gray, Mt Barker Courier July 11 1930

Thomas Gratwick

"Thomas Gratwick, a miller by trade, was one of several brothers who kept a store at Bugle Ranges.  They rented for a time the windmill that John Dunn built at Hay Valley.  A son belonging to one of the brothers (Albert Edward) died on November 28 1866 at the age of 17 years.  And Thomas himself died on September 7 1876 at the age of 59 years."
-Early Mount Barker - Who Was Who? - Rev. W. Gray, Mt Barker Courier July 11 1930

William Gray

"William Gray, though hardly a pioneer, is still well remembered as manager of the National Bank.  His wife (nee Elizabeth Bosworth) died on June 10 1876 at the age of 67 years.  Their only son William Bosworth, survived both his father and mother and died only a few years ago"
-Early Mount Barker - Who Was Who? - Rev. W. Gray, Mt Barker Courier July 11 1930

Hall families

"There were several families of Halls. John Hall of "Maryfield", Mt Barker Springs, was the best known. His wife Mary, after whom the homestead was named, came from Roxburghshire, Scotland, died November 14 1862 at the age of 80. He himself died February 25 1872 at the age of 84. His son Thomas Hall, lived at Bugle Ranges (part of the property now owned by Mr. Birks). He died February 5 1884, at the age of 61. There was a family of ten . The daughters were Mesdames John Wallace, Adey, Andrew Little, James Williams, Thomas Wakefield, and Miss Annie Y. Hall. The sons were John, James, Robert and Thomas. The mother, Eliza Ann Hall, died March 11 1902 at the age of 80 years. The only survivors of this family are Mrs Andrew Little, Monarto South, and Mr Robert Hall of Glenelg. Mr John Hall had a brother Thomas who lived at Mt Barker Springs."
-Early Mount Barker - Who Was Who? - Rev. W. Gray, Mt Barker Courier July 11 1930

Henry Hooper

"Henry Hooper, was in business with John Brackenridge, in Gawler Street, in the premises now owned by Mr Whitford.  Henry Hooper was a saddler by trade.  Rhoderick McKenzie managed his department and afterwards bought it for himself.  The Hooper's resided in the white house in Walker Street (now Miss Harker's Guest House).  His wife was Jane Brackenridge."
-Early Mount Barker - Who Was Who? - Rev. W. Gray, Mt Barker Courier July 11 1930

Brackenridge & Fowler

"Mr J.R.G. Fowler, the father of Charles W. Fowler (Woodside), married Elizabeth Brackenridge.  After his death the son Charles went with his mother to live in Mount Barker which they did for about four years.  Mrs Fowler married Andrew Lorimer in 1856.  Andrew Brackenridge had a brother Thomas, who had a farm near Littlehampton.  The mother and sister of Bella lived with him.  One Andrew Brackenridge, farmer, was married to Margaret McIntyre, in Rundle Street, by the Rev. Robert Haining, on August 8 1848.  His age was 31 and hers 26.  J.R.G. Fowler was one of the witnesses."
-Early Mount Barker - Who Was Who? - Rev. W. Gray, Mt Barker Courier July 11 1930

Robert Hutton

Robert Hutton was among the early settlers in the district.  In 1846 he had his church connections with Gouger Street, Adelaide, and on January 12 of that year was elected a member of the committee of management.  He died on Mary 25 1860 at the age of 58.  He left a widow, two sons, and three daughters surviving him.  The family were among the first settlers to go to Monarto between 1868 adn 1870.  A son John (Sanderston) and two daughters at Monarto and Murray Bridge, still (1930) survive.
-Early Mount Barker - Who Was Who? - Rev. W. Gray, Mt Barker Courier July 11 1930

Thomas Lambert

"Thomas Lambert figures in the early settlement along with Walter Paterson.  The late Mrs Wallege was his housekeeper, and when he died on May 14 1870 at the age of 80, she got his old fashoined clock which is now in my possession.  It must be over 100  years old.  Lambert's funeral was conducted by Alexander Hendry.  He visited Scotland, and on returning to South Australia brought  a parcel of "tokens" for communicants, used, and still in use in the Presbyterian Church, at times when the ordinance of the Lord's supper is dispensed."
-Early Mount Barker - Who Was Who? - Rev. W. Gray, Mt Barker Courier July 11 1930

Archibald Little

Archibald Little was born in the south of Scotland 1813 and came to South Australia in 1839.  He farmed at Echunga first and came to Mount Barker in 1840, having bought two sections of land and named the farm "Glen Lee", now occupied by Mt Wilson.  His son John was born there April 20 1840.  His wife was Miss Mary Rae who died December 1 1877 aged 62.  His family were John, James, Andrew (who died at Monarto) and a daughter Janet.  Mr Little lived to be an old man and was active to the last.  He died August 12 1902 at the age of 91.  His children have all passed away."
-Early Mount Barker - Who Was Who? - Rev. W. Gray, Mt Barker Courier July 11 1930

Quaker Community - May, Sander, Coleman, Philips, Barritt, Cleggett

"Mount Barker in the earliest days contained a little colony of Quakers.  The most outstanding man among them was Joseph May, who died March 11 1878 at the age of 90 years.  His remains are buried in the West Terrace cemetery, Adelaide.  Others were the Cleggett family, the Coleman's, Sander's, Phillips' and Barritt's.  Mr May came to South Australia with his family in the "Anna Robertson" in 1839.  A fellow passenger was Mr Joseph Barritt, who married a daughter of of Mr May in 1854.  There are people still living who remember Mr May with his Quaker hat and antique speech.  He built the the Quaker's meeting house about a mile and a half west of Mount Barker.  The foundations of the little meeting house are still traceable.  It stood in the corner of a paddock, and was a building about 20 x 16 feet.  Nearly a mile south-west of the meeting house in the middle of the paddock, is a grave enclosure with four head-stones.  One bears the name of Henry May, died April 10 1846, aged 60.  Another, Joseph May, junior, died November 17 1847 aged 22.  The third bears the name Ellen Margaret Phillips died January 21 1849 aged 1 year.  The fourth, Rupert May, died March 19 1870 aged 4 months.  The late Mrs Benjamin Sanders was a Barritt.  She and her husband and daughter are buried in West Terrace.  In the West Terrace cemetery there are tomb-stones recording the following burials:- Joseph May died March 11 1878 at the age of 91; Hannah May died May 11 1860 aged 20; Edward May died December 24 daged 43; Frederick May died January 1 1885 aged 70."
-Early Mount Barker - Who Was Who? - Rev. W. Gray, Mt Barker Courier July 11 1930

Raison & Shackleford

"According to Thomas Raison, whose parents came to the colony by the "Fitz James", and was brought to Mount Barker by his mother when two weeks old 74 years ago, through the Tiers, says that Mr Shackleford kept a school at Mount Barker Springs.  He succeeded Henry Bonnar, who held his school in a wattle and daub building there.  Mr Shackleford kept his school there while the new school building was being built - now Mr Frame's store barn.  Mr Shackleford then shifted to the new building and children walked all the way from Mount Barker to the school."
-Early Mount Barker - Who Was Who? - Rev. W. Gray, Mt Barker Courier July 11 1930

Adam Watson Richardson

"Adam Watson Richardson was a chemist of repute and carried on a business in Gawler Street till he died on April 6 1894.  He was born at Dunbar, Scotland April 26 1826.  He married Jeannie Thomson, of O'Halloran Hill . He married as second wife Miss Moss.  There were three sons and four daughters in the two families.  Richardson had two brothers, both chemists.  One of them married a Miss Inglis of Woodside.  John Ferguson who married Eliza Bell was a nephew.  His mother 2 was a sister of Mr Richardson and his father was a schoolmaster."
-Early Mount Barker - Who Was Who? - Rev. W. Gray, Mt Barker Courier July 11 1930

Smiths of many varieties

"Francis Isaac Smith and Frederick Charles Smith were brothers and early settlers of Mount Barker.  The former was appointed clerk of the District Council in 1867 and retained the office for a long period.  In addition to these duties he was a manufacturer of ginger beer, and thus earned the soubriquet of "Ginger Beer Smith".  His brother Fred. C. Smith, will always be remembered as associated with the firm of J.G. Ramsay & Co.  He lived to a goodly age, and his son Fred, residing in Mount Barker, has in his possession two interesting maps of Mount Barker, one drawn by Mr. F.C. Smith, evidently from and earlier plan showing the settlement of the town in 1851.  It was a photograph from this that was used to produce the block used in a recent issue of the "Courier" to illustrate the origin of street names.  The other is a map issued by the firm of Townsend, Botting & Co. to advertise the sale of unsold allotments in Mount Barker township.  This sale took place at the Oakfield Hotel in 1866.  The sons of Mr. F.C. Smith have all made a name for themselves, and a grandson, Mr. Leslie Smith, is electrician for the electric service in Mount Barker."
-Early Mount Barker - Who Was Who? - Rev. W. Gray, Mt Barker Courier July 11 1930

Edward Tear

Edward Tear was a Methodist minister, and will be remembered by some of the older people,  He had retired from the active ministry and kept a store at the corner of Dutton Place and Maclaren Street.
-Early Mount Barker - Who Was Who? - Rev. W. Gray, Mt Barker Courier July 11 1930

Lachlan McFarlane

Lachlan McFarlane was born in Argylshire in 1806.  He came to Sydney in 1840.  He brought livestock overland to Melbourne.  Six months later he came to Mount Barker where he started sheep farming.  He was amongst those who employed the young German women from Hahndorf to shear their sheep.  He married one of these young ladies, Louise Laybasch 3 on February 24 1845.  He was 37 and she was 20 years of age.  The marriage was celebrated by the Rev. Robert Haining at Clanferzeal near Adelaide.  The witnesses to the marriage ceremony were Dougald McDougall, Andrew Murray and Catherine Helen Spence.  A child John died on July 11 1856, one month old.  John Walker, surgeon, gave a burial certificate 4.  Lachlan MacFarlane built one of the most pretentious buildings in the State, and named it the Oakfield Hotel.  Later this building was sold to Robert Barr-Smith, who renamed the beautiful building Auchendarroch, and used it as a Summer residence.
-Early Mount Barker - Who Was Who? - Rev. W. Gray, Mt Barker Courier July 11 1930

John Dawson McEwen

"John Dawson McEwen was born in Scotland March 22, 1828.  He came to South Australia in the ship "Dirigo", which left Liverpool in May or June 1854, Captain Francis Drake.  After leaving Liverpool cholera broke out on board.  A number of deaths occurred and the ship put back.  A number of passengers decided to leave the ship.  This made room for two of my relatives, Angus Macky and Alexander Jack and their families getting a passage.  The late James Dawson, miller of Gawler and the Inglis famiy were fellow passengers.  Andrew Inglis, now of Merriton, was a boy of 13 on the ship.  Mr and Mrs McEwen brought with them a daughter born in Scotland.  The family came straight to Mount Barker.  Mrs McEwen died in 1901 aged 76, Mr McEwen died aged 80, June 12 1908.
-Early Mount Barker - Who Was Who? - Rev. W. Gray, Mt Barker Courier July 11 1930

Simion Moss

Simion Moss was an undertaker in 1856.  He was the father of Mrs A.W. Richardson (second wife), who lives now in Perth,W.A.
-Early Mount Barker - Who Was Who? - Rev. W. Gray, Mt Barker Courier July 11 1930


Next to the Dunn's the Paltridge family have helped to make Mount Barker.  Mrs Thomas Paltridge ("Granny" as she was called); a sister of John Dunn, came with her husband and family by the "Phebe" in March 1847.  The family consisted of four sons, Thomas, John, William, Samuel, and two daughters, Elizabeth (Mrs Heanes) and Mary (Mrs McKenzie).  They were met at the ship by William Dunn with his bullock waggon.  They had their tea at a hotel in Adelaide, and made a start for Mount Barker about sundown, and reached Cock's Creek 5 at an early hour next morning and rushed the eating house for something to eat.  Mrs. McKenzie is now the sole survivor of the party, in her 91st year."
-Early Mount Barker - Who Was Who? - Rev. W. Gray, Mt Barker Courier July 11 1930

Alexander Patterson

Alexander Patterson settled in Mount Barker in the early fifties and named his home "Woodcote".  His land was afterwards bought by the Hon. J.G. Ramsay on which he built his home, Eden Park.  Mr. Patterson was ordained to the eldership in the Presbyterian Church on July 24 1859, by the Rev. James Gordon.  He died after a prolonged illness, December 8 1874 at the age of 64.  His wife (Jane) predeceased him, March 8 1870 at the age of 55.  There were two sons, George and Alexander who were among the first settlers at Monarto 1868-70.  They both married daughters of the late Mr. Alexander Lyon.  The Pattersons at Monarto and Murray Bridge are descendants of old "Sandy" Patterson, as his is spoke of to this day.
-Early Mount Barker - Who Was Who? - Rev. W. Gray, Mt Barker Courier July 11 1930

Waddell family

The Waddell family who called their homestead between Blakiston and Nairne, "Spring Bank", is still remembered by the older people of Mount Barker, or those who "heard mother speak about them".  There is an obituary record in the local Court house of the death of Margaret Waddell, aged 27, wife of -- Wadell (spelt with one 'l'), mariner, Port Adelaide, who died February 18 1858.  There is a further record of the death of Isabella Waddell, who died on Febrary 7 1869 aged 62, wife of -- Waddell.  The inscription on the monument in the Blakiston cemetery makes it certain that this was the wife of John Waddell, of "Spring Bank".  Mrs McKenzie, who knew the family well, says that there were two brothers and three sisters that came out with their father and mother in 1839.  The late J.J. Bonnar lived with the family for a time.  One daughter, Jessie, who came to the colony as a widow (Mrs Craigie) married James Brown of Avenue Range, South-East.  He died at Glen Osmond February 7 1890 at the age of 72.  Mrs Brown died at the City of Niagara Falls, U.S.A. on November 13 1892 at the age of 67.  On the monument at West Terrace she is described as a colonist of 53 years.  This places the arrival of the family in the year 1839.  Mrs Brown erected a handsome monument over the grave of her mother and father in the Blakiston cemetery.  John Waddell, the father died June 19 1871 at the age of 70.  His wife's full name was Isabella Brydon.  Mrs Brown was one of the chief benefactors of Minda Institution.  The sister, Carry, married someone in Victoria.  Mary, according to Mrs McKenzie's recollection, married a Mr Anderson in Adelaide.  My impression is that she married one of the Gordons, a neighboring family.  The brother James went lately to Broken Hill and the other brother went to Broughton when that district was opened for settlement by farmers.  Henry Bonnar was tutor to the Waddell family and later Maud Jean Franc (Miss Congreve) was governess."
-Early Mount Barker - Who Was Who? - Rev. W. Gray, Mt Barker Courier July 11 1930


The Walkers are rather hard to turn up.  Dr. John Walker, J.P. married a sister of the late William Rankine of Strathalbyn.  He resided for a time in Mount Barker and built what afterwards became the Presbyterian Manse, but never lived in it.  In 1861 he was appointed Protector of Aborigines.  He must have then been practising at Strathalbyn.  Andrew Melville Walker was a brother.  He died on October 13 1856, at the age of 34.  He is described as 'stockholder, Hampden, Strathalbyn'.  The death certificate was signed by Dr. John Walker.  James Walker was a brother who was a stockholder at Strathalbyn.  William Walker was, I think, another brother.  He practised as a solicitor at Mount Barker and died May 21 1869 at the age of 51.  Dr. Walker's father was a Presbyterian minister in Scotland.  His only son, named Jeffrey, died young.  This happened about the time that the late William Rankine's second son was born.  An unused cot was given to the William Rankine family and the new-born son (now residing at Woodville) was given the name of Jeffrey Walker Rankine.  Dr. Walker died at Adelaide, September 26 1868.
-Early Mount Barker - Who Was Who? - Rev. W. Gray, Mt Barker Courier July 11 1930

Duncan McFarlane

Duncan McFarlane 6 was living in the Mount Barker area as early as 1839.  In his 1843 book on South Australia, Mr. J. F. Bennett records that on his first visit to the area, he and his companions camped at McFarlane's station.  He mentions "the sheep depastured on the property held by Mr. Duncan McFarlane numbered 10,000."  Duncan McFarlane was one of the first settlers to take up land on the Mt Barker special survey.

Walter Paterson

Walter Paterson arrived in South Australia aboard the "Resource" on 23 January 1839 with his wife and three children.  They settled in the area near Mt Barker during that same year.  Walter was first employed by John Barton Hack at Echunga, where he worked for about a year.  Later, he was one of the first to grow wheat in Mt Barker at his farm known as Greenbank, about a mile from the present town on the Wistow Road.  He travelled from Adelaide to Mt Barker with his family by bullock dray.  His first wife's memorial stands near the corner of Hurling Drive and Wellington road.  The area where Walter Paterson lived was known as Yunkunga. [Obituary]

John Garden Ramsay

Owner of Eden Park, and also the proprietor of Ramsay & Co. suppliers of heavy machinery.  The Hon. J.G. Ramsay was his own architect when he built this stately home.  He died in a train accident under mysterious circumstances.  His property was sold and the Salvation Army established a Boy's Home there in 1901.

Allan Bell

Allan Bell arrived in the colony aboard the "Lady Bute" on 20 June 1839.  Mr Bell owned a property known as Dalmeney Park.  It was on this property that he grew wheat which would go on to win numerous prizes.  In 1892, some of his prizes for wheat cultivation were on display in the Metropolitan Art Gallery, Adelaide.  He won the following prizes for his wheat:- London - 1862 - bronze
Paris - 1867- gold
Melbourne - 1866 & 1867 - bronze
London - 1873 - bronze
Paris - 1878 - silver in the 1990's there was a large cup in a glass case on display in the National Bank in Mt Barker, I believe that this is the silver award won in Paris in 1878

Love & Bezor family

These two families have a long association with one another.  James Love was born at Bradford-on-Avon in Wiltshire in 1823.  He married Caroline Bezor in 1845 and migrated to South Australia aboard the ship "Joseph Somes" in 1850.  He was a brick maker by trade, and lived in the Mt Barker area after arrival.  He died there in 1890 and his wife lived on until 1911.  Both are buried at Mt Barker.  Their son Jonah, who was born in Mt Barker in 1855, married his cousin Sarah Bezor in 1885.  Jonah lived in the town until his death in 1941, when he was also buried at Mt Barker with his wife Sarah, who had pre-deceased him in 1906.

Sarah Bezor, who married Jonah Love, was the daughter of Samuel Bezor and Sarah Love.  Samuel and his wife were also from Bradford-on-Avon.  Samuel Bezor married his wife in 1850, shortly before their departure to South Australia, also aboard the "Joseph Somes".  Upon arrival, he spent 2 years brick making at Bowden.  When the goldrush began in Victoria, Samuel left for Forest Creek to try his luck at gold mining.  He returned after a few months, but gold fever had him in its grips, and he returned to Forest Creek to try his luck a second time.  He returned to the Mt Barker area after an absence of about 18 months, and went to work at his trade making bricks for Mr Gray at Littlehampton.  Six or seven years later, he took up work as an overseer with the Central Road Board, a position he retained for over 26 years.  During his tenure with the Road Board, he lived at Crafers, Doctor's Creek and Macclesfield.  In the late 1880's he moved to Mt Barker in retirement, where he passed away in 1901.  Samuel Bezor and Sarah Love had 8 children - all girls.  Some of their children were Mrs G. Ellis of Wistow, Mrs EH Smith of Macclesfield, Mrs J Love of Lorquon, Vic., Mrs (Jane) Andrew Wylie of Mt Barker, Mrs GJ Headland of Netherby, Vic., Mrs (Lydia) William Smith of Mt Barker, Mrs (Martha) Robert Wylie of Mt Barker.  When Sarah Bezor died, she left 34 grand children and 47 great-grandchildren 7.

George Foster Pearce

PEARCE, Sir GEORGE FOSTER (1870-1952), politician, was born on 14 January 1870 at Mount Barker, South Australia, fifth of eleven children of English parents James Pearce, blacksmith, and his wife Jane, née Foster.  Educated at Red Hill Public School, he left at 11.  He obtained farm work which he found 'hard and unpleasant' and he so much disliked the drinking habits of his fellow workers that he remained a teetotaller throughout his life.  Eventually he became a carpenter in Adelaide but, losing work in the depression of 1891, moved to Perth where he found a job in his trade.  He joined the Amalgamated Society of Carpenters and Joiners and by 1893 was actively working in the Trades and Labor Council and in its Progressive Political League.



1.   J.W. Disher is John Disher, formerly of Nairne, who grew the first wheat crop in the area with John Hillman in 1838.

2.   Refers to the mother of John Ferguson being a sister to AW Richardson.

3.   Mis-spelling of her surname - she was Louisa Lubasch, daughter of the Lutheran migrant family from Hahndorf

4.   Refers to the death of the child John McFarlane in 1856.

5.   Mis-spelling of location - Cox's Creek - near Bridgewater/Aldgate.  The location he speaks of is the old eating house which was on the site of the present day Aldgate Pump hotel.

6.   Duncan McFarlane is not related to Lachlan McFarlane

7.   Information supplied by Mark Schipp, Seoul, South Korea